The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority already knows a lot about who isn't paying tolls on its roadways and will soon deploy more tools and resources to track drivers.
“We analyze these things and see the usage patterns that these habitual violators have," said Jeff Dailey, deputy executive director for the CTRMA. "During rush hours, we know the lanes they use, where they use them, the time of the day they use them, so we can really zero in on people."
The CTRMA defines habitual toll violators as drivers or vehicle owners who have more than 100 unpaid tolls in a one-year period. Its board on Wednesday approved a contract for a new system of cameras that will read license plates, allowing the authority and law enforcement to better track the estimated 15,000 violators.
Dailey said the unpaid tolls are costing the agency millions of dollars.
"A small percentage of people are not paying, and they're using our roads every single day," Dailey said. "What we're trying to do is collect on that, so it's fair for everybody."
The camera system will first be tested on the 183A and 290 toll roads before they're placed on other roadways like the MoPac express lane. The technology is already being used in Harris and Fort Bend counties.
In July, the CTRMA board will vote on a proposed contract with constables in Travis and Williamson counties for a roadway enforcement program. The board first approved the crackdown in September 2018.
Those who don't pay up could have their name added to a public list of violators. They could also be banned from CTRMA toll roads and have their vehicle registrations blocked.
Dailey encourages people to get a TxTag sticker, which automatically deducts the toll from a prepaid account. If drivers don't want to fall behind, they should ensure their addresses are updated with the state.
The CTRMA hopes to have the enforcement program fully up and running in September.
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